CSO – Online Donations


05 NOV 2014 – Top 10 Reasons to Support the Columbus Symphony Orchestra – it’s so much easier now!


OCTOBER 2013: I write about the Columbus Symphony Orchestra – a lot.  Is it positive?  Yes.  All of it.

Except this.

I think of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s online donation process (Set up by CAPA and powered by Ticketmaster) is a great opportunity for improvement.  Does it work?  Yeah – technically.  It took me many (5-6) tries before I could find enough patience to figure it out, but yeah – technically, it works.  It’s a lesson in absurdity, but it works.  More or less.  (Scroll down for work instructions or for a summary, visit my October Post which summarizes the process in list form).

Considering the CSO’s operational budget is a roughly 70/30 split between relying on donations for 70% and for ticket sales for 30%, I think the online donation process could stand to be improved. (2011 annual report2012 annual report)

Unfortunately, the CSO itself doesn’t have decision rights in this.  It’s all at the feet of CAPA to decide and I’m not sure it’s motivated to make any improvements, despite its own online donors’ being subject to the same, lengthy and convoluted process.

This is a page I originally put together last July 3rd – the first time I wrote about this – after having conducted a survey.  An online donation process should always be quick and easy.  As Lisa Hirsch recently wrote (again) – “Make it as easy as possible for people to give you their money.”  She wrote that yet again after seeing my latest post about this process.

In a post called Take My Money, Please, Drew McManus wrote about conversion which is how often a patron performs a desired action upon visiting a website – such as buying a ticket or making a donation.

Donating money should not have to require work instructions!  It should be easy, instinctive and never require an account.  I think that the Columbus Symphony Orchestra is shooting itself in the foot – or perhaps CAPA is shooting the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (and CAPA, CATCO and the Lincoln Theatre) in the foot because it’s their donation portal that must be used.  Ironically, inside that portal, you’ll see the logo of Opera Columbus which has its own donation process which takes only 4-5 steps to make a donation, does NOT require an account to be set up and by no means, does it time you out like the CAPA / Ticketmaster portal does. Heaven forbid you should have to run upstairs for your wallet or pull dinner out of the oven mid-donation.  Because if you do, you’ll be timed out and have to start all over.

By the way, this is all open source material that I’m using. I’m using no inside information and nothing that cannot be sourced by anyone with a computer or smart phone.

You need the money, CSO.  You rely on it to pay the salaries of all the office folks and musicians.  You use it to advertise (though for the life of me, I don’t know where since I have yet to see any advertising, though I’m still looking) so why make it so difficult?  Why make it so difficult that people – including your own musicians I’ve asked to try it out – give up half way through the process?

I’ll keep writing about this every month (and will donate $5 every month) to write about how ridiculous a process it is, but I look forward to the day when I can write about how it has finally turned into something super easy that will allow the CSO to start collecting donations from casual donors because those $5-10-20-50 donations really add up and right now you’re sending out a huge message that you don’t want them.

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra is a very good orchestra.  They deserve better than this, CSO administration.  They deserve better.  Columbus deserves our orchestra, too, because if the CSO can’t be funded, we’ll lose a great arts organization, and it almost seems as if you’re purposely making it hard for the CSO to make its current budget.  Please dispel that myth.  Help fix that potentially erroneous perception!

Here are all my monthly posts about the online donation process.  Please spread the word.  This MUST change and it MUST change for the better.  I long for the day when I can write about a new online donation process because that news is something I think will spread like wildfire!

15 Or So – January 2014

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – December 2013

KISS Principle – November 2013

How Far Would You Go?  – October 2013

CSO Online Donation Update: September  – September 2013

CSO Online Donation Update: August  – August 2013

Survey Results: Donate? Part III  – July 2013 Part III

Survey Results: Donate? Part II  – July 2013 Part II

Survey Results: Donate? Or Not?  – July 2013 Part I – read about a hypothetical casual donor and learn of the origins of my tip jar!

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